Ludwig van Beethoven

Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major ("Pastoral"), Op. 28

    Description by Sol Louis Siegel

    Compared to the groundbreaking sonatas of Op. 27, Beethoven's Piano Sonata in D major, Op. 28, is something of a retrospective work in terms of form: clearly, the composer still had something to say in the "standard" four-movement scheme of his earlier sonatas. A remarkable feature of this work is that each movement establishes its own insistent, dominating rhythm at its outset. The first measure of the opening Allegro, for example, is simply three quarter notes on the tonic note D, a figure that both establishes the work's 3/4 meter and commences the first subject. The flowing, carefree second subject, based on the same rhythmic pattern, derives from a series of rocking chords in both hands. The overall effect is one of cheerful contentment, though the development builds to a considerably dramatic climax.

    The second movement, Andante is a not-very-slow slow movement in ABA song form. Here, Beethoven creates a serious, lyrical theme in D minor from a series of chords over an insistent left hand in sixteenth notes. The middle section, in the major mode, alternates syncopated chords with descending right-hand triplets, material that makes a plaintive minor-mode return in the coda.

    The Allegro vivace Scherzo, again in 3/4, rises from a sardonic series of descending single notes, one to a measure and an octave apart, after which the right hand jumps both above and below the left with the theme. The Trio section, reviving the minor mode, is a series of rocking triplet figures.

    Like the first movement, the Allegro, ma non troppo finale at once establishes a rhythm and commences with the main theme. The movement is in 6/8; the alternation of quarter note and eighth note rhythms provides a syncopated "rambling" feel. Beethoven finds fresh variants for every repeat of this theme, all the way to the brilliant coda.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro
    2. Andante
    3. Scherzo. Allegro assai
    4. Rondo. Allegro ma non troppo

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Claudio / Claudio Bohema CR 55762
    2016 Warner Classics 0190295975050
    2016 Skylark Music SKY 1601
    2016 DG Deutsche Grammophon B002436502
    2016 Ars Produktion ARS 38204
    2016 Musical Concepts MCS 3201
    2016 Naxos 8578324-25
    2015 MSR Classics MS 1468
    2015 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2015 Ondine ODE 12802D
    2015 Avie AV 2320
    2015 Sony Classical 88875032222
    2015 Andromeda ANDRCD 9124
    2015 Andromeda ANDRCD 9123
    2014
    5
    Signum Classics SIGCD 371
    2014 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4794120
    2014 Claves CD 50130413
    2014 Claves
    2014 Onyx / Onyx Classics ONYX 4115
    2014 PentaTone Classics PTC 5186490
    2014 BIS BIS 2000
    2013 Brilliant Classics 94630
    2013 Mirare MIR 187
    2013 Warner Classics
    2013 Entertainment Group 13706
    2013 Azica Records ACD 71284
    2012 Decca
    2012 Del Aguila DA 55307
    2012 EMI Classics
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099946495228
    2012 Decca
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    2012 ATMA Classique 22489
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    2012 Marquis Classics 774718151322
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    2012 Sony Classical 88725412862
    2012 Sony Classical 88691912562
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    2011 Brilliant Classics 94052
    2011 Cambria CD 11751185
    2011 Decca 478 2607
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    2011 Transart Live TR101
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    2011 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2011 RCA Red Seal 88697875102
    2010 Chandos 10616
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94075
    2010 Musical Concepts ALN 1901
    2010 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Philips
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    Dante 107120
    The Piano Library 223
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